Boys’ water polo preview: Vikings to go up against Los Altos

Julianna Heron, Author

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Senior JJ Kadifa looks to throw the ball to one of his teammates. Palo Alto High School plays Los Altos today in their last game before the league tournaments.

Senior driver JJ Kadifa looks to throw the ball to one of his teammates. Palo Alto High School plays Los Altos today in their last game before the league tournaments. Photo by Julianna Heron.

The Palo Alto High School boys’ varsity water polo team (9-2) team looks for a win against Los Altos High School (4-6) at 6:45 p.m. today at Los Alto High School.

The Vikings are looking to defeat the Eagles as they near the end of their season. The last time Paly played Los Altos, earlier in October, the Vikings won by a score of 9-5 to beat the Eagles for the first time in five years. They hope to have another win against Eagles and move on through the season successfully, according to junior utility Seth Alston.

“As long as we play defense first we can go and try to get on top early,” Alston said.

Last year, the Vikings lost one of their stars, making many people doubt the potential of this year’s season, according to senior driver Will Mendenhall.

“Everyone kind of counted us out [when] we lost our best player,” Mendenhall said. “Now we have one of the best records we’ve had in a really long time.”

Tonight is Los Altos’ senior night, so Paly hopes to defeat them on this important night for the Eagles, according to Mendenhall.

“We really want to go out there and win the game especially since it’s Los Altos’ senior night,” Mendenhall said. “We kind of want to beat them on their own pool on their senior night [to] stick it to them.”

The Vikings have worked hard to put up a strong winning record making it one of their most successful seasons for a while, according to Mendenhall.

“This has been probably the best season out of the four years I’ve been at Paly,” Mendenhall said.

With the season coming to an end, Alston reflects on their dominating season.

“It’s kind of bittersweet because it was such as good season,” Alston said. “It will be good to see our league season end with a win but we don’t want to see it end so early.”

For over half of the team, this is the last season of high school water polo they get to play. This year’s Paly boys’ water polo team, comprised of 21 players, has been led by 13 seniors. Though this is the last official league game, the boys still look forward to succeeding in the league tournament and Central Coast Section Playoffs, according to Mendenhall.

“As a senior it’s kind of sad knowing this is one of my last game of water polo for Paly,” Mendenhall said. “The good news is that we still have the league tournament and CCS coming up.”